I rise early for a day of adventures, beginning with an amazing fruit plate - pineapple, papaya, bananas - for breakfast. If only fruit were this good in the states.
First on the agenda for Reda (new Moroccan friend), Jael and I is canyoning, or rappelling down waterfalls. With harnesses (always attractive) and helmets, we venture out into the rain forest. The excursion consists of 4 rappels, the first of which is quite elementary but also serves as a chance for the guides to begin the splashing segment of the trip. Jael and I weren't aware that we had signed up for a wet t-shirt contest. Okay, so the guides weren't quite that sketchy but their goal was to get everyone soaked - whether you wanted to or not. If the splashing didn't accomplish their goal, half-way through the tour was a required cannon ball into a pool surrounded by rock walls. The trail led us through densely forested areas, and I must admit I was tempted to swing like Tarzan for a while. The rappelling was invigorating, with the last being my favorite since because it was the longest and you were able to zip down it.
As luck would have it, I met my Costa Rican soul mate, one of the canyoning guides. No, I did not anticipate meeting my soul mate this early in the trip. But when deep love like this happens, I must resign to it. It all started with when he told me that my eyes are beautiful. I fought my instinct to be difficult and respond with, "Oh really, what color are they?", and simply responded with "thank you." See, he makes me want to be a better person. And so, we are soul mates!! It doesn't even matter that he probably says that to a girl on each of his tours.
Next up: rain forest hike. Volcano Arenal's activity sounds like fireworks in the distance. Despite his countless and shameless attempts to sell his highly esteemed (it is the best you will ever see!!) volcano video, our guide proved to be one of my favorite characters of this trip. I sincerely enjoyed his t-shirt: West Virginia - Almost Heaven, complete with wings, raised fist and halo. Mr. Rain Forest showed us leaves that served as natural medicines for the indigenous people. One for birth control; one for muscle pain (smelled exactly like Icy Hot); one for digestion. Unfortunately, I did not stumble upon a natural healer for my feet, which have now doubled in size. I'm not sure why my feet, and only my feet, are retaining so much water, but I am certainly thankful that my paws now resemble a gorilla's. It makes me feel one with the rain forest. As we trek through the rain forest, the skies open and dump rain on us. I lag behind the group to enjoy the peace the rain brings.
Our hike takes us to an observation deck of Volcano Arenal. The sun sets and draws the curtain for the lava show. I had envisioned lava flowing from the volcano, which in hindsight was a bit optimistic. In reality, rocks were spewed from the mouth of the volcano down the side. Still cool, but not quite as awesome as my imagination had scripted.
We ended our day at the hot springs, housed in an open-air building with pools and pools of different temperature waters. We stuck to the warmer pools. Reda's friend told him it's not really a vacation unless there's a swim-up bar. Check that off the list!